General conference marking UNESCO's 60th anniversary opens with stress on education's importance

Sri Lankan's president stressed education's importance in bridging cultural differences Monday at the opening of a conference marking UNESCO's 60th anniversary.

The 18-day meeting, which brings together leaders of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will focus on approving budgets and selecting a leader. UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura has been nominated to serve another term, the AP reports.

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga reflected on UNESCO's duty to promote education, justice and peace _ its mandate since the agency was founded soon after the end of World War II.

Ghana President John Kufuor also addressed delegates, stressing the U.N.'s importance in fighting cross-border crimes like drug sales, money-laundering, human trafficking and arms trafficking _ "crimes which are steadily undermining the peace and security of the world and putting humanity at risk."

During the conference, delegates were to sign accords on issues such as doping in sport, cultural diversity and bioethics, and discuss ways of setting up a global tsunami warning system. AM

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